It’s not fun to be an Aaron Rodgers fantasy football owner right now, as the injured quarterback is going to be as useful to your team as Jared Lorenzen. There are options, however, to soften the blow of Rodgers’ loss, two of which we have listed below. As always, wide receivers and running backs are the positions most searched as potential waiver wire pickups, and we’ve cut you some time from sifting through all of the available players with a few names below.
1. Alfred Morris – Dallas Cowboys RB (43.9% owned in ESPN)
We’re not going to tire you in here with all of the legal mumbo-jumbo of Ezekiel Elliott’s suspension saga. Instead, we’re going to campaign for Morris as a top-priority waiver add. Elliott’s suspension is on hold, but a court ruling could still activate his suspension, meaning Morris and Darren McFadden are still safety net options for Elliott’s owners and prime targets for opportunistic, running-back thirsty lineups.
2. Nelson Agholor – Philadelphia Eagles WR (36.1% owned in ESPN)
We had Agholor on this list last week after he recorded 93 receiving yards and a touchdown in a Week 5 win over the Arizona Cardinals, but he remained owned in just 36.1% in ESPN leagues. Those who picked him up were rewarded with another solid effort from Agholor, who caught four passes for 55 receiving yards and a TD this past week.
It’s not the same level of production as he had the week before, but Agholor should’ve earned himself the trust of the Eagles’ coaching staff. Philly gets the Redskins in Week 7, and even if Josh Norman returns to the field for that game, the cornerback will likely be assigned to Alshon Jeffery despite Agholor being more productive as of late.
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) October 13, 2017
3. Josh McCown – New York Jets QB (10.3% owned in ESPN)
It’s Week 6 and the Jets are 3-3, still technically in the running for the AFC East title. No, you are not in a parallel universe.
The Jets really have not thoroughly embarrassed themselves this season, largely because of the play of McCown. It’s time to consider taking the quarterback from the waiver wire, especially for Matthew Stafford and Deshaun Watson owners as both QBs are on byes in Week 7. McCown hung 354 passing yards and two touchdowns, albeit with two interceptions, on the New England Patriots’ defense in Week 6. He will next face the Miami Dolphins this week, against whom McCown put up 249 passing yards back in Week 3.
Jets Josh McCown has been "off target" on an NFL-low 10% of his attempts this year. He's just ahead of Alex Smith and Drew Brees (11%)
— Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL) October 16, 2017
4. Marqise Lee – Jacksonville Jaguars WR (7.1% owned in ESPN)
Lee is Blake Bortles’ favorite wide receiver this season, and that was proven once again in Week 6 when Lee had five receptions on 10 targets for 83 receiving yards against the Rams. One thing that keeps Lee’s stock down, however, is his lack of red zone targets, as he only has two so far in that department. Nevertheless, his PPR value is on the rise after getting at least seven targets in three of the Jags’ past five games.
5. Dion Lewis – New England Patriots RB (6.5% owned in ESPN)
Lewis has posted back-to-back solid performances the past two games, including a Week 6 performance against the Jets in which he rushed for 52 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries—the most by anyone on the team in that game.
There could even be an uptick in terms of Lewis’ usage next week after Mike Gillislee lost a fumble in the first quarter of the Jets game, which could serve as the bookmark of where exactly Gillislee lost the trust of head coach Bill Belichick. At best, Lewis fits in as an RB2 or a flex play based on the current scheme of things in New England.
Dion Lewis snaps/touches last 3 games:
Wk 4: 20%, 5
Wk 5: 24%, 9
Wk 6: 43%, 11
Rush TDs inside 10: 2
Mike Gillislee rush TDs inside 10: 0
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) October 16, 2017
6. Chris Ivory – Jacksonville Jaguars RB (5.3% owned in ESPN)
Leonard Fournette was taken out of the game against the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday with an ankle injury, and though it was conveyed afterward by Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone that he could’ve sent the running back to the game, Fournette could still be deemed questionable for next week considering his history of foot injuries.
Ivory is going to inherit most of the touches reserved for Fournette in case the latter ultimately misses any time. In addition, Ivory has quite been a revelation in the passing game, as he’s third on the team in targets (25) and receptions (18), per NFL Savant.
7. Orleans Darkwa – New York Giants RB (4.3% owned in ESPN)
We can’t say that the Giants’ offensive performance on Sunday against one of the best defenses in the league was an anomaly, but it’s hard to ignore the 117 rushing yards Darkwa shoved down the Denver Broncos’ throat while averaging 5.6 yards per carry. The Giants are severely missing important pieces on offense, particularly in the passing game, and if the Broncos game was any indication, Darkwa and the Giants’ backfield will carry plenty of responsibilities going forward. In other words, more touches and more scoring opportunities for Darkwa.
Melvin Gordon/Zeke/Shady/Beast Mode combined vs Broncos this season: 50 carries, 95 yards
Orleans Darkwa last night: 21 carries, 117 yards
— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 16, 2017
8. New Orleans Saints Defense/Special Teams (2.6% owned in ESPN)
The Saints’ defense isn’t going to be a long-term asset for your team, but for Week 7, it could be a viable option for those playing the matchups. New Orleans gets Green Bay next Sunday, and the Saints are fortunate that it won’t be Aaron Rodgers tossing the pigskin for the Packers in that game.
Rodgers will be out for the foreseeable future with a collarbone injury, and in his place is third-year QB Brett Hundley, who’ll be making his first career start. That sounds tasty for New Orleans’ stop unit that will be licking their chops at the prospect of following up their five-sack performance against the Detroit Lions with another strong outing.
9. Bennie Fowler III – Denver Broncos WR (1.7% owned in ESPN)
The Broncos lost both the game against the New York Giants and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders on Sunday, as the wide receiver carted off the sideline in the second half due to an ankle injury. Sanders is set to undergo an MRI this Monday, and if the results point to at least a questionable status for him, Fowler should be a player that wide-receiver needy fantasy owners look at.
If that’s the case, expect Fowler to get increased targets next week against the Los Angeles Chargers, who are 10th in the league in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing wide receivers. He had 35 receiving yards on two catches against the Giants.
Final Denver WR snap counts for SNF pic.twitter.com/iFpiDmXBXe
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) October 16, 2017
10. C.J. Beathard – San Francisco 49ers QB (0.1% owned in ESPN)
It looks like Brian Hoyer will be holding on to a clipboard moving forward after getting benched by Niners head coach Kyle Shanahan in Week 6 in favor of rookie signal-caller C.J. Beathard.
The former Iowa Hawkeye connected on 19-of-36 attempts for 245 yards, a touchdown, and an interception, nearly willing his team to win after falling behind in the game, 14-0. It was enough for Shanahan to name Beathard as the future starter for the 49ers.
We still need to see more from Beathard, but it won’t stop owners with some slots and moveable pieces to spare to pick up Beathard off waivers.
Kyle Shanahan: C.J. Beathard will be the starting QB moving forward. pic.twitter.com/RszzoY00YU